A Lidl bit bigger - Scheme for controversial Todmorden site goes into planners

Disused land on Halifax Road, Todmorden.
Disused land on Halifax Road, Todmorden.

Derelict land in Todmorden which has been subject of numerous controversial supermarket developments could see a new store built - if the latest proposals are approved.

Lidl is the latest food retailer to submit a plan for the land off Hope Street and Halifax Road - a key “gateway” site in Todmorden - to open a new store, replacing the company’s existing outlet 200 metres away.

For the last half decade the site, one of a number of “eyesore” sites around the town centre for which a solution has been sought, has been subject to a number of planning applications by supermarket giants including Sainsbury’s and Asda, reaching as far as a public inquiry before permission was rejected.

Full planning permission is being sought by Lidl for a mixed-use development comprising a 2,779sqm foodstore alongside a 929sqm unit which could be used for bulky goods, offices, health care provision or trade counter.

The development as a whole will see a total of 201 parking spaces, including 10 mobility impaired and 10 parent and child spaces, together with secure cycle parking. Planning agents Plan A (North West) Limited said in their proposals: “The site is derelict and detracts from the visual amenity of the area as a result of its scale, low visual value and the visual contrast it presents with neighbouring uses.

“The design of the proposed retail store has evolved through a process that has taken site specific factors into detailed consideration alongside operational needs and corporate requirements.

“This process ensures that the most efficient, practical and suitable development proposal is progressed.

“The proposed development will make a significant positive contribution to the character of the locality by creating an attractive, inclusive and high quality environment and utilise energy efficient technologies, sustainable materials and construction techniques.”

Lidl say the site is accessible by a variety of modes of transport, ensuring that customers and staff can visit the site by non-car modes of transport and there will be no more than three 16.5 metre articulated vehicles per day.

The replacement Lidl store’s opening hours will be 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturdays and for six hours between 10am and 5pm on Sundays.

Lidl are proposing that an additional 22 new jobs will be created with existing staff moving to the store, if the new plans are approved.

The land has been subject to previous planning applications from other supermarket chains including Sainsburys and Asda, who had their plans rejected from 2012.

In 2010 more than 3,000 people signed a ‘Stop The Supermarket’ petition relating to the then Sainsbury’s application amid fears a big supermarket on the site would take shoppers away from Todmorden Market and nearby town centre shops.

In a public inquiry which rejected the Asda plans for the site, it was claimed by an expert witness for Calderdale Council, who had opposed supermarket development there, that £1 million of revenue could be drawn away from the town centre.

At the time the inquiry heard development would also have implications for the derelict Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre/Olympia Cinema site which Asda owned then and now and the smaller existing Lidl.It currently has permission to develop a smaller supermarket on that site, on the Burnley Road section of the town centre. - .

The former Hope Street Mill occupied the site before demolition 10 years ago and the site has been vacant since. It was purchased prior to an auction two years ago when it would have appeared at the London sale room for a guide price of around £450,000. The buyer was Batley-based Spring Petroleum Company Ltd.

Earlier this year Calderdale Council used its powers to compel owners of a number of eyesore sites, including this one, to tidy them up.